Does all anger come from fear?

I don’t mean angry yelps after stubbing your toe – I mean anger between people. And hatred. Give me examples of anger that does not arise from some kind of fear.

4 thoughts on “Question”

  1. Let me just say as someone who is becoming used to being scrutinized regularly … (for some reason they really check you out and make you deal with your issues when you enter the ministry) … that I am learning more and more about control issues.

    From my own experiences in self-reflection I will agree that most anger does arise out of fear. In dealing with my own anger I have found that I am most angry when I cannot control a situation be it other people, an organization, my Mazda’s crappy transmission, etc. In response, I am learning to live in God’s time and in God’s ways which means that I don’t have to be in control of every situation. I have faith that God is in control and working for the best possible outcomes for every person involved even when I cannot see any indication of God’s presence. This doesn’t always stop the emotion of anger, but it provides perspective and helps break anger’s tyranny.

    However, we have to deal with concept of “righteous anger.” As a Christian my inital response to this phrase is the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ clearing the temple of money changers and animal merchants (Matt. 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 2). Jesus’ explains his actions as a restoration of the Temple as a proper place of worship and not a marketplace. He justifies his actions by declaring his status as both Son of God and God’s Messiah. There are many, many situations that I can imagine that make me very angry and rightly so. Rape. Genocide. Murder. Abuse. Exploitation. Bigotry. And the list goes on.

    Your fundamental questions still lingers thought, doesn’t it. Is our righteous anger truly rooted in a belief that the above named actions are gross violations any and all moral codes? Or is our anger rooted in the fear that the beastliness we see in other lingers somewhere deep in us? Or is it our fear that the world may just be so unstable a place that this act of incivility, brutality, and immorality might just be the thing to plunge the world into moral chaos? Hmm …

  2. Good thoughts. And yes, righteous anger would still come from fear. In this case, Jesus’ fear that the temple would continue to be a place of commerce and not worship. Regardless of context, anger is just a defense mechanism. It can be used for good or ill.

  3. They teach us therapists that most interpersonal anger comes from hurt/sadness. That anger is the surface emotion that we tend to see and express, but underneath is the pain. Cheesy, but the theory’s been borne out in lots of my work with kids, especially boys.

  4. I guess hurt/sadness is the flipside of it: after being hurt, you’re afraid of being hurt again, and so you defend yourself with anger.

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